10 February 2013

Western Sahara: Trial of Gdeim Izik Detainees - 'We Are Political Prisoners,' - Saharawi Defendants

Rabat — The Sahrawis 24 prisoners or " Gdeim Izik group" refused Saturday in Rabat to be considered as common law detainees, insisting on their right to be treated as political militants and human rights defenders.

"We are not criminals, but political prisoners and consider our appearing before the military tribunal as a political trial," said militant Ennaama Asfari at the hearing of the accused by the court, at the trial, which opened on February 1.

Referring to the Gdeim Izik, near occupied Al-Ayun in Western Sahara, where in autumn 2010 more than 20,000 Sahrawis settled and had set some 3,000 tents, before being evicted by Moroccan forces, Asfari stressed that "it was a battle of peaceful protest" and "a form of symbolic political protest" by which we demanded the Sahrawis rights.

"This is a form of protest to remember the sufferings of the Saharawi people and demonstrate its connection to the land and to the country," he said, reaffirming on this occasion, the defendants will continue the movement by peaceful means.

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